Taking a turn in “cock” alley

It’s the Year of the Cock. No, no, not that Year of the Cock, when TIME named Donald Trump its 2016 Person of the Year. Today marks Lunar New Year, and for many of its Chinese celebrants, 2017 is the Year of the Rooster – or, if we’re not so prudish, Cock. But what’s all this cockeyed rooster/cock cockamamie about, anyway? 

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Cock-a-diddle-do? Image courtesy of pixabay.com.

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Some observations on the phonaesthetics of tits, cunts, cocks, and spunk

Following on my initial observations on the phonology of cusswords, and connecting to Iva’s recent post on cooters and hooters, I’d like to spend some time looking at some phonaesthetic clusters in words relating to private parts and emissions. Continue reading

New voice transcription feature in Google Docs censors (some!) swearwords

Google Docs announced today that you can now create documents using your voice.  And of course, like any good linguist, I immediately went to try to stump it. It’s pretty good, actually — it recognized both pronunciations of “gif” and “aunt” in the contexts “animated ___” and “uncle and ___” although it tended to assume that I might have the bit/bet merger, which I most emphatically do not, and thus presented me with a few transcriptions that felt like odd candidates to me.

But then I tried swearwords and hit the fucking jackpot. Continue reading

Stiff competition

In her latest post for Strong Language, “Feelthy Brand Names,” Nancy Friedman shared some “naughty-sounding brand names,” as she nicely summed it up on her blog. No sooner had I enjoyed her post than I came across this gem on the road while stopped on my way home from work:

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Where’s the t-shirt, bro? Oh wait, see below.

Naive or knowing? I couldn’t track down a lot of information about this curiously named company, so I can’t be sure. If you’re not familiar with the phenomenon called “morning wood,” let’s just you should move out of the way of pubescent schoolboys who, on their way to class in the morning, are carrying their textbooks in a manner so conveniently positioned at waist level. Here’s a scientific explanation from–I couldn’t resist–Upworthy. It won’t put you to sleep, even if that’s what’s behind nocturnal penile tumescence. (I wonder why the term “morning wood” proved so sticky?) Continue reading

The curse of coprolalia

Quick—what’s the most offensive thing you could say right now?

Whether it’s shit-gargling cunt, faggot cumtits, or something equally inappropriate, your brain’s basal ganglia helped you figure it out almost instantly. And if you didn’t blurt out what you were thinking, you can thank your prefrontal cortex, which plays a role in impulse control. For people with coprolalia, though, something in that neural circuitry has gone awry, and they can’t help letting loose with profane outbursts.

Coprolalia—from the Greek kopros meaning “feces” and lalein meaning “to talk”—is usually associated with Tourette syndrome [1], although it appears in only 10 to 20 percent of Tourette cases. It has also been documented in people with brain injuries from stroke, encephalitis, and cerebral malaria.

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